We’re moving on

Vidyan Ravinthiran


– Our fourth move in as many years.

Where and for what will we ever settle?

The clothes horse is chockablock; as we ball

our rainbow of socks into pairs

I want to hold the moment, gently as a petal,

between my finger and thumb. But this house

is home to you, and so you have it worse;

a loved nook that will leave a bruise.

– Where I can look at you is where my home is.

As we uproot blade-clogging moss

(will our next place have a garden?),

you mention my brother-in-law. He’s brown-green

colourblind: my sister’s flesh is grass.

The odour of summer climbs into bed with us.


Vidyan Ravinthiran


I take both Blakes – Daniel, and William –

at their word. One of them imagined

a place where no dispute could ever come.

Your engagement ring you’ve left behind

to keep both you and it from harm. The band

meets in Byker, where it’s grim. Blake

grappled with an abstruse system

heroically. You searched online for others; found them.

Each time you’d rather stay at home with me

but don’t. That’s innocence. That’s experience. Tony,

a paramedic, is your lift back

to the station. He once retrieved a stillbirth from a toilet bowl.

Some to misery are born. The image is engraved.

Lines the burin made – your violin strings – begin to howl.


This book

Vidyan Ravinthiran


claims eczema like yours, that comes and goes

like ambition or lust or cloud-shadow on gorse

is its own explanation. The body’s morse

for hurts words cannot touch. I’ve

scratched – you disapprove – these ant

bites to raw calderas – moats of hives;

red, flashing buttons. When I can sleep I can’t

help it! You dab cream on the ankle-cyst

the doctor wishes to excise and send away

despite the sunshield of my pigment.

Just in case. Are the cells I am given

to friendly fire? Civil war is what cancer is,

a suborning of one’s own deep forces.

Your moles amaze me like stars in the sky.


In films

Vidyan Ravinthiran


– they’ve an agenda, of course – couples

read instead of having sex. To read in bed

is to be alone, and timorous, in that place

their tingling bodies should be wed.

Cinema requires its shorthand, its givens

that sum us up in just so many scenes.

But I can’t stand the director’s knowing look

for when we sit together, both with a book,

solitudes meld, as when we fuck; lamplight

warms the thigh-smooth page. If a bit

is beautiful, or bad, or funny, we read it out.

Turning the page, you laugh, leaving me

to ask what’s going on, or not – lingering

like a passionfruit’s long, gum-piercing, pang.